persistent

adjective
per·​sis·​tent | \ pər-ˈsi-stənt How to pronounce persistent (audio) , -ˈzi-\

Definition of persistent

1 : existing for a long or longer than usual time or continuously: such as
a : retained beyond the usual period a persistent leaf
b : continuing without change in function or structure persistent gills
c : effective in the open for an appreciable time usually through slow volatilizing mustard gas is persistent
d : degraded only slowly by the environment persistent pesticides
e : remaining infectious for a relatively long time in a vector after an initial period of incubation persistent viruses
2a : continuing or inclined to persist in a course
b : continuing to exist despite interference or treatment a persistent cough has been in a persistent vegetative state for two years

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Other Words from persistent

persistently adverb

Examples of persistent in a Sentence

Contrary to persistent myth, Hoover was an activist. — Steve Forbes, Forbes, 30 June 2008 The high-water mark of such truckling might be the publication of the Cato Institute report "America's Record Trade Deficit: A Symbol of Strength." Freedom had become slavery; persistent deficits had become economic power. — Eric Janszen, Harper's, February 2008 The silence started from your end just about the time you said good-bye to dear St. Elizabeth and it has been constant and persistent ever since. — Archibald Macleish, letter, 11 July 1959 We were nagged by a persistent salesman. He is one of the government's most persistent critics. She has been persistent in pursuing the job. He has been fighting a persistent cold. Flooding has been a persistent problem in the area this year. Persistent rumors that the business is for sale have alarmed the staff.
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Recent Examples on the Web

To progressives, such critics have sanitized King’s legacy, erasing its radical elements to avoid acknowledging persistent racial inequality. Coleman Hughes, WSJ, "Martin Luther King, Colorblind Radical," 17 Jan. 2019 Deep, persistent inequality — access to safe neighborhoods and hospitals, functioning schools, healthy food — plays a part. Danielle Jackson, Longreads, "A Frustrating Year of Reporting on Black Maternal Health," 14 June 2018 Not even the attraction of yields among the highest in emerging markets could stop bond inflows - which the country relies on to help finance a persistent current-account deficit - from turning to outflows. Colleen Goko, Bloomberg.com, "South African Rand Is Back to Its Bad Old Way," 21 May 2018 What endures in this final book, though, is a fixation with the past as a portal to present misères, whether persistent gender inequalities or economic disparities as extreme as those of the industrial age. Jason Farago, New York Times, "When Misery Becomes a Subject for Art," 18 May 2018 The outdoor memorial and an accompanying museum draw a direct line from enslavement and lynching to the persistent racial inequality plaguing the country today, including segregation and mass incarceration. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Alabama memorial captures the scale of racial terror in the U.S.," 3 May 2018 However, power generation problems, electronics woes, and rapidly wearing out railgun barrels have been persistent issues. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China’s Railgun Has Reportedly Gone to Sea," 31 Dec. 2018 But even in person, Mase exudes a persistent welcome and warmth that comes from his thoughtful engagement in conversation and a casual charm that easily breaks into hearty laughter. Crystal Paul, The Seattle Times, "Seattle poet J Mase III makes his own way and teaches other trans and queer artists to carve out sustainable careers," 13 Apr. 2019 Low commodity prices, persistent drought and labor shortages have pushed many farmers to the edge. Michael Bennet, WSJ, "Trump Has Been Bad for Farmers," 6 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'persistent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of persistent

1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for persistent

Latin persistent-, persistens, present participle of persistere — see persist

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Statistics for persistent

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for persistent

The first known use of persistent was in 1826

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More Definitions for persistent

persistent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of persistent

: continuing to do something or to try to do something even though it is difficult or other people want you to stop
: continuing beyond the usual, expected, or normal time : not stopping or going away

persistent

adjective
per·​sist·​ent | \ pər-ˈsi-stənt How to pronounce persistent (audio) \

Kids Definition of persistent

: continuing to act or exist longer than usual a persistent cold

Other Words from persistent

persistently adverb

persistent

adjective
per·​sis·​tent | \ -tənt How to pronounce persistent (audio) \

Medical Definition of persistent

1 : existing or continuing for a long time: as
a : effective in the open for an appreciable time usually through slow volatilizing mustard gas is persistent
b : degraded only slowly by the environment persistent pesticides
c : remaining infectious for a relatively long time in a vector after an initial period of incubation persistent viruses
2 : continuing to exist despite interference or treatment a persistent cough has been in a persistent vegetative state for two years

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Comments on persistent

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